Islamabad: The British Broadcasting
Corporation on Wednesday said Pakistan has banned the beaming of its
Urdu news service on local FM radio channels.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has not given
written permission to BBC`s 24 partner FM stations to air
five-minute bulletins, BBC Urdu reported on its website.
BBC currently broadcasts its Urdu news bulletins
through local FM channels under permission granted last year
by the Pakistan government.
"The ban on BBC Urdu through FM channels is
strange," BBC Urdu service chief Aamir Ahmed Khan said.
BBC said it was told by the government that all FM
channels will be given written permission to air its Urdu news
BBC said it had started providing five-minute news
bulletins to 24 FM channels and these were appreciated by
The regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf
had first banned BBC new bulletins on FM channels but the
restriction was lifted by the Sindh High Court, which
described the move as illegal.
BBC news bulletins on FM channels resumed after the
BBC news bulletins were banned again after Musharraf
imposed emergency in November 2007.
The Pakistan People?s Party-led government lifted the
ban after it came to power in 2008.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority
has said that no FM channel can broadcast BBC`s Urdu news
bulletins without written permission.
Mazhar Abbas, a senior leader of the Pakistan
Federal Union of Journalists, said PEMRA should only issue
licences and should not have the power to ban any channel.